Coping with Busyness

School is an important and ever present structure in our society that has a great effect on our lives in the future and how we can live them. For many in the U.S. schooling doesn’t end after we get out of high school, but continues when we go to college so that we may experience more of the academic world as a whole and start to take classes in the fields that us as individuals are interested in. While for many coming out of high school college seems like the next inevitable step in their education, but many forget that while they have to go they can still choose which colleges they go to and to some extent how many classes they want to take. These new choices allow more individual freedom with in education, but it also shows the start of an ever increasingly busy part of life that might not slow down for many years. College, classes, homework, work, friends, and several other countless activities make up the average week of a college student and they must learn how to balance out the busyness in their academic lives with the busyness of their private lives.

Speaking from personal experience, I wasn’t prepared for how busy college life was and how it effects what activities you are able to do, due to the demands it has. While not an outgoing student in high school I personally put in a lot of work to achieve good grades in school. So while I might be up late one night a week writing a paper or doing last minute preparing for school I never had to try hard to keep ahead of my work load. This changed rapidly when I started to attend college and I was forced to plan ahead more so I could keep a balanced work load of homework, studying, commuting, and of course extra time for unexpected assignments that where given at school. So staying up one night a week changed to staying up late on average five times a week.

Planning itself took up a lot of time right off the bat due to the fact that college students are responsible for making their own class schedule which can be a highly involved process, but also because in order to qualify for certain fee waivers the school requires that you as a student must take a certain number of units in a given semester. This was the situation that I was in. I had a fee waiver, but needed twelve units in order to be able to keep and use it so I picked four classes that suited my schedule and applied to my major so that it would keep both me and the school happy. While planning how many classes you want to take you also have to try and find classes at the times you want or need them. Some classes are only taught during specific times or semesters so they are usually highly sought after by other students. These sought after classes quickly show up when you are trying to get into a class you desperately need for your major only to find out that it is already full. So in an effort to still get into the class you apply for the waitlist in hopes that someone will drop out after school gets started, but in the meantime you must find another class to fill that time with which can lead to several new schedules being made. Just the simple act of trying to get the classes you want can lead to several minutes if not hours of planning around the schedule set by the school and your own personal schedule.

Planning in all its glory takes up a massive amount of time when it comes to simply scheduling your classes. The school itself already has a kind of structure or plan set on what times certain classes will be so you as a student must adapt so you can keep up. This is less so when you actually get into the classroom. All professors have a syllabus at the beginning of the semester that contains a general outline of due dates and when they expect you to have things done. Some professors are a little more flexible about due dates, but as a rule of thumb the date they have will usually be the one they stay with. Never the less it’s important to plan extra time into your schedule so that you can accommodate the occasional surprise assignment or essay that a professor might give you.

In the life of a college student planning and planning ahead are both very important skills to learn. For some taming the busyness of college life might be harder than expected while others might find it very easy to adapt to. Still a book that might help an individual see some useful examples of how other people deal with busyness is a book by Charles N. Darrah called Busier Than Ever! Why American Families Can’t Slow Down. This book looks at why families in America are so busy and what are some of the things they do to help them deal with being so busy. Several of these strategies would be very beneficial to a soon to be college student or a current college student to learn and some you might already be doing. One such beneficial strategy is anticipating that things might happen so you change your schedule to accommodate it. This example is displayed in the book Suzanne Jones and Humberto Mendoza when they both have commitments at their jobs that they can’t avoid so they schedule their personal lives around them in advance so they won’t conflict. This can be readily achieved with college students because you usually have access to the class syllabus ahead of time and can plan your personal activate in advance around your assignments. Of course there are on some occasions when this particular strategy might not work as well if you have a professor who is prone to giving out random assignments.

College takes a lot of time and practice to get used to. As a student you have the ability to pick which classes you want to take and in most instances what time you want to take them. Yet it is important to remember that you must work within the structure that the school has already set up such as you must take certain classes at a specific time or certain number of classes in order to jeep any fee waivers that you may have. Planning and anticipating this while might make you busier as a college student can help you deal with the work load that you have to endure and might in the end; give you more free time to do what you want.

by John Pansarosa

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